Rwanda beckons Indian investors, entrepreneurs

Monday, October 25, 2010

BANGALORE - Rwanda Monday invited Indian investors and entrepreneurs to explore business opportunities and also help it develop socially and economically into a modern state.

“The World Bank has declared our country as the fastest global reformer of business regulations. Besides natural resources, including minerals and a growing population (11 million), we have a conducive environment for investments in diverse sectors ranging from agriculture, manufacturing to services,” Rwanda Infrastructure Minister Karega Vincent said here at an interactive session.

Leading a 20-member delegation for showcasing his country, investment opportunities and access to markets in the region, Vincent told captains of the Indian industry that Rwandan President Paul Kagame had drawn an ambition Vision 2020 for high growth through private investment.

“Our GDP growth rate of 7.1 percent since 2004 has been the highest among major African economies and neigbhouring countries. With stable inflation and exchange rate, we are politically stable and have well functioning institutions, rule of law and zero tolerance for corruption,” Vincent said at a day-long ‘Rwanda Investment Roadshow’, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).

Though Rwanda’s economy is basically agriculture driven, with over 70 percent of the population dependent on farming, it has set up an independent agency - Rwanda Development Board - as a one-stop centre for investors, simplified taxation and is developing industrial parks and a free trade zone to promote manufacturing and services sectors.

“We have a market of over 10 million people with a rapidly growing middle class and access to markets in the region surrounded by Uganda in the north, Tanzania in the east, Burundi in the south and Congo in the west that have a combined population of 120 million,” Vincent pointed out.

Beckoning Indian investors and entrepreneurs, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to India, Williams Nkurunziza, said his country abounded with potential opportunities in multiple sectors such as infrastructure spanning rail and air transportation, agriculture, energy, tourism and information and communication technology (ICT).

“ICT is our priority sector to achieve the Vision 2020. We are also looking up to India for investments, expertise and training in financial services, mining, real estate and construction. We intend to transform our country into a hub for integrating East Africa with free access to markets in the region,” Nkurunziza said.

Asserting that Rwanda was politically, economically and socially stable since 1994 after the traumatic three-year civil war in the early 90s, Vincent told IANS later that the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) had rebuilt the country during the last decade-and-a-half.

“Rwanda is a thriving, safe country. Our capital Kigali had won the UN Habitat award in 2008 for being a clean and green city with the lowest crime in the region. Our Vision 2020 is to transform the economy into a middle income country from a subsistence agriculture economy to a knowledge-based society, with high levels of savings and private investment,” Vincent noted.

Filed under: Economy

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